EXAFS and Structure-Function Relationships in Zinc Proteins

  • C. David Garner
  • Martinus C. Feiters
Part of the Springer Series in Biophysics book series (BIOPHYSICS, volume 2)


Zinc is known to be associated with a large variety of proteins, and is present in enzymes in each of the six categories designed by the International Union of Biochemistry [1], In enzymes, zinc is often thought to play a catalytic role, i. e. to be essential for and directly involved in the catalysis, but also purely non-catalytic (i.e. structural or regulatory) roles have been implied, and in some cases its role is undefined [1]. Unlike manganese, iron, copper, or molybdenum, zinc exists in only one oxidation state, viz. Zn(II). Therefore, it is notably absent from the classes of dioxygen-binding proteins or electron-transfer proteins, and in the oxidoreductases where it is found either catalyses hydride transfer, as in alcohol dehydrogenase [2], or zinc assists another metal in its catalytic action, like copper in Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase [3], rather than temporarily accommodating an electron, or having dioxygen as a ligand. The general concept of the catalytic role for zinc in enzymes appears to be the polarisation of molecules by virtue of its Lewis acidity. This may be the activation of water in its coordination sphere, e.g. in carbonic anhydrase to release a proton at physiological pH [4], or of a carbonyl function for nucleophilic attack on carbon, e.g. in carboxypeptidase [5], or of an alcohol for proton release and subsequent reactions, e.g. alcohol dehydrogenase [2]. The presence of a catalytic zinc site is typically signalled by the presence in its coordination sphere of a resting water molecule which may be activated or displaced.


Coordination Number Carbonic Anhydrase Alcohol Dehydrogenase Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Sorbitol Dehydrogenase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. David Garner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martinus C. Feiters
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Daresbury LaboratoryDaresbury, WarringtonUK

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